Gallery vis­i­tors walked through art his­tory

Coastal News - - News - By SARAH HOLDEN The Lit­tle Gallery Whanga­mata

From Raphael to Mon­drian: Art his­tory ‘with a twist’! Lynne Robin­son gave a walk-and-talk jour­ney through the var­i­ous in­flu­en­tial move­ments in art his­tory.

Lynne’s tour of­fered a unique in­sight from the per­spec­tive of some­one who is an artist as well as an art his­to­rian.

She be­gan by talk­ing about the Re­nais­sance, a move­ment which spanned between the 14th and 17th cen­turies in Europe. In this pe­riod sub­jects were typ­i­cally por­trayed in an ide­al­is­tic way, from ru­ral land­scapes to the Madonna, while the use of iconog­ra­phy hinted at mul­ti­ple lay­ers of mean­ings. Sig­nif­i­cant tech­ni­cal fea­tures in Re­nais­sance paint­ings in­cluded sym­me­try and har­mony, and the ideal of ev­ery­thing fit­ting into a per­fect tri­an­gle. Lynne pointed out these fea­tures re­flected in Julie Why­man’s Shar­ing Se­crets —a paint­ing cap­tur­ing the in­ti­mate mo­ment of a child’s friend­ship with the wax­eye bird.

We then moved on to Real­ism, which is recog­nised as the first mod­ern move­ment in art his­tory. Artists re­jected tra­di­tional forms of art and re­placed ide­al­is­tic or bib­li­cal im­ages with real life events and de­pic­tions of moder­nity. Part of the Real­ism move­ment in­cluded pho­to­re­al­ism, where the artist at­tempts to re­pro­duce an im­age as re­al­is­ti­cally as pos­si­ble. In the gallery Lynne recog­nised a cou­ple of artists who spe­cialise in this style, namely Jane Gal­loway and Grant Simp­son.

Im­pres­sion­ism was where Lynne took us next, and there were plenty of ex­am­ples in the gallery she could draw from — in­clud­ing Liz Hart’s Tran­quil Jour­ney or Mardi O’shea’s Ports of Call, where the artists cre­ate a loose im­pres­sion of a sub­ject rather than a de­fined de­pic­tion. Pi­o­neered by Claude Monet, the Im­pres­sion­ists led a move­ment which was con­cerned more with form and light rather than real­ism.

Lynne then moved to Cu­bism, an early 20th cen­tury move­ment where sub­jects were bro­ken up, an­a­lysed and re­assem­bled in an ab­stracted form, de­picted from many viewpoints si­mul­ta­ne­ously, rather than from a sin­gu­lar per­spec­tive. Devel­oped by Pablo Pi­casso and Ge­orges Braque, this style gives the im­pres­sion of mul­ti­ple viewpoints with dis­torted forms and am­bigu­ous spa­tial re­la­tion­ships, ex­em­pli­fied in Stephanie Crisp’s use of col­lage in her Port Se­ries, and also in Mis­chelle O’don­nell’s Seag­ullible.

A lesser-known move­ment Lynne brought up was Japon­isme, where Euro­pean art was in­flu­enced by Ja­pa­nese art. The tech­niques of Ja­pa­nese print­mak­ing were one the main sources of in­spi­ra­tion for Vin­cent Van Gogh, who be­came an avid col­lec­tor of Ja­pa­nese art. Lynne pointed out Joanne Mahoney’s orig­i­nal print Amaryl­lis Lily and Kay de Blaauw’s Ike­bana Se­ries as some ex­am­ples of this move­ment.

Ex­pres­sion­ism came next: orig­i­nally in both po­etry and paint­ing, this move­ment presents the world from a sub­jec­tive view, dis­tort­ing it rad­i­cally for emo­tional ef­fect and to evoke spe­cific moods or ideas. From the gallery Lynne drew com­par­isons to Dhyana Muir’s Walk­ing Away, and Per­mis­sion to Climb by Sharen Wat­son.

Lynne then di­rected the tour to­wards Ab­strac­tion, fo­cus­ing in par­tic­u­lar on the Rus­sian artist and art the­o­rist Kandin­sky. Tidal Catch by Kate Madill Jones, Sun­lit Trees by Wendy Walls and Boa Es­ca­la­tor by Kirsty Black were stand­out ex­em­plars of this move­ment.

PHOTO / SUP­PLIED

LYNNE Robin­son gave an in­for­ma­tive talk about con­tem­po­rary mas­ter­pieces at The Lit­tle Gallery Whanga­mata.

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